Celestial Sukkah

David Charney & Goody Clancy, Boston, MA


As the exiled Israelites journeyed through the desert, they built their nomadic life around universal human needs: shelter from the elements, the companionship of others, and a sense of higher purpose. The Celestial Sukkah evokes this ancient quest.

This sukkah is composed of two wooden nesting shell structures, threaded with strips of textured fabric varying in color and transparency. The inner shell rotates so the sukkah can express a variety of configurations: entirely enclosed (to maximize shade), open to one side (to communicate welcome), or any position in between. The outer shell stands strong to provide an essential foundation, and together, the shells’ vertical lines gesture up towards the sky. The configurations are dynamic, evolving, and ever shifting, like a kaleidoscope.

In response to changing conditions, the Celestial Sukkah creates shade, filters light, and reaches out to visitors – always with a view to the heavens. Depending on the sukkah’s configuration and the orientation of the viewer the lines of enclosure look and feel different.

Ribbons of fabric give the structure a skin and create the sukkah’s kaleidoscopic effect. Glimpses through layers of material, slivers of light and shadow create a sense of alluring mystery. The s’chach is the exterior skin, an open-weave natural jute fabric that creates textured shadows while the interior is translucent sheer white to capture the light and shade.

The Celestial Sukkah invites visitors to appreciate the temporal nature of life, even as they search for promise of the eternal.

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